World / Europe

British politician recalls Xi's October visit to Manchester

(Xinhua) Updated: 2015-12-30 10:03

LONDON - When Manchester Council leader Sir Richard Leese received a message from a British high-ranking official that Chinese President Xi Jinping was coming for a visit, it was music to his ears.

Manchester had been chosen to host the Chinese leader during his October state visit to Britain.

The city was earmarked by Britain's Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne as the epicenter of a new government initiative called the Northern Powerhouse, a response to Britain's widening north-south divide as people and businesses have clamored to pack into London and the South East.

Osborne's strategy was aimed at transforming the northern provinces, through massive investments and major new infrastructure, making the region a vigorous powerhouse second only to London.

Xi's state visit, labeled as the most important one by a head of state to the country for over a generation, offered a great opportunity for the British official to showcase his brainchild, in a hope that the Northern Powerhouse strategy would be propelled onto the world stage.

"As a city, we were honored to have been able to host President Xi Jinping and Madame Peng Liyuan during the very successful state visit to the UK in October and to have been able to show the couple some of the exciting projects that are taking place in our dynamic and rapidly growing city," Leese told Xinhua in an interview.

The visit provided for an even closer development of ties between Manchester and China, a relationship that Manchester greatly valued, he said.

The politician cited the announcement of the first direct flight from Manchester to the Chinese mainland by Hainan Airlines during Xi's visit as an exemplary practice for the future development of bilateral ties.

"We are excited by the huge opportunities for greater trade and investment that this new connection will open up and to welcome many more visitors from China to our city," Leese said.

He also underlined that the coming year of 2016 marks the 30th anniversary of Manchester's sister city agreement with Wuhan, capital of central China's Hubei Province.

"With the support of the newly-opened British Consulate General in Wuhan, we believe we have a unique opportunity to demonstrate the value of closer working relationships between UK and Chinese cities at both the civic and business-to-business level," Leese noted.

In next July, Manchester will host the Euro Science Open Forum, which is to be attended by many Chinese elite dedicating to scientific and technological development, according to the official.

"We look forward to welcoming many visitors from China to this globally significant event and to using this as a catalyst for developing closer ties between our respective scientific communities," he added.

Trudeau visits Sina Weibo
May gets little gasp as EU extends deadline for sufficient progress in Brexit talks
Ethiopian FM urges strengthened Ethiopia-China ties
Yemen's ex-president Saleh, relatives killed by Houthis
Most Popular
Hot Topics